The ferry service connecting Bar Harbor and Nova Scotia has been canceled for the third year in a row.

The CAT Ferry heads toward Portland Head Light on its way out of Casco Bay toward Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on July 17, 2017. The service hasn’t run since 2018.  Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

A notice on the Bay Ferries website said the Province of Nova Scotia canceled the 2021 sailing season for The Cat ferry because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the latest setback to efforts to set up a regular summer ferry run from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The Cat, a high-speed catamaran, crosses the Gulf of Maine in 3 ½ hours. Previously, the ferry service ran from Portland to Yarmouth from 2016 to 2018, when the operator, Bay Ferries, decided to switch the Maine port to Bar Harbor.

In 2019, the season was canceled due to delays in setting up a Customs and Border Patrol-ordered screening facility in Bar Harbor. Last year, the season was delayed until fall due to the pandemic and then canceled altogether.

The website said the province made the decision on the 2021 season on Monday. Bay Ferries said it looked forward to welcoming back passengers when international land borders have reopened and “public health circumstances allow.”

The ferry will remain in its winter port in Charleston, S.C., for the foreseeable future.


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